Special Report: Auditing The Disaster Aid For 2013 Tornadoes And Storms

Federal public-assistance funds are paying for the rebuilding of Plaza Towers Elementary School, in which seven children died in the May 20, 2013, tornado. The school is expected to open next month.
Clifton Adcock Oklahoma Watch

The tornadoes and storms that devastated Oklahoma and killed 34 last year triggered the release of tens of millions of dollars in federal and state aid that will keep flowing for years.

To date, the federal government has approved up to $257 million in disaster assistance of various kinds to help re build damage and help victims of the winds and flooding that struck between May 18 and June 2, 2013, and to mitigate future risks.

The state has contributed an additional $10.5 million, and private insurers are paying about $1.1 billion. Charities also have pumped in aid.

The relief aid stemming from Disaster No. 4117, as it is called by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is arriving through several channels, heading ultimately to state and local agencies, contractors, businesses and individuals.

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Open Meetings
8:16 am
Wed March 5, 2014

State Board Of Education Gets Redo On Previous Votes

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi

The State Board of Education held a special meeting Tuesday to approve once again previously voted on actions from their Feb. 27 monthly meeting in Enid.

The board neglected to file its change of location from Oklahoma City to Enid with the Secretary of State’s Office 10 days in advance of that meeting as required by the Open Meeting Act, making all votes taken that day invalid.

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Business
6:46 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Obama's Budget: Magic Wand Or Club?

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on his 2015 budget plan Tuesday at Powell Elementary School in Washington.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 10:02 am

Think of the budget plan released Tuesday by President Obama as a magic wand. If he could wave it and make every line come true, how would the U.S. economy look?

Like this:

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Time For Tense Negotiations In Ukraine, Kerry Says

Armed men in unmarked military uniforms — who witnesses believe are Russian troops, but who Russian leaders say are "local self-defense" forces — stand outside the territory of a Ukrainian military unit in the Crimean village of Perevalnoye.
Maxim Shipenkov EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:15 am

This post was updated at 5:10 p.m. ET.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said all sides agree that the crisis on the Crimean Peninsula must be resolved through dialogue, but he acknowledged there has yet to be one-on-one discussions between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart.

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Plan To File A Brief To Appeals Court
6:20 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Current And Former Republican Lawmakers Support Same-Sex Marriage

Credit Penn State Libraries Pictures Collection / Flickr.com

A group of current and former Republican lawmakers say they support making same-sex marriage legal in Utah and Oklahoma because it's consistent with Western conservative values of freedom and liberty.

A group that includes former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas plan to file a brief to a federal appeals court in Denver that's reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has hearings in mid-April for both cases.

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Bill Passes on second try
4:07 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Oklahoma House Passes Bill To Extend Tax Credit To Film Industry

Credit popturfdotcom / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma House has — on its second try — passed a bill to extend a tax credit for the film industry.

The House voted 65-28 for the measure Tuesday after reconsidering the bill. It had fallen three votes short of passing on Monday.

The state provides rebates to filmmakers amounting to $1 for every $3 dollars they spend on movie productions in Oklahoma, up to a total of $5 million. The program is scheduled to expire July 1. The bill by Republican Rep. Todd Thomsen of Ada extends the credit for 10 years to 2024.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
1:28 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Most Of The State Abnormally Dry As Drought Creeps East Into Oklahoma City

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map of Oklahoma as of February 25, 2014.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

Save for a tiny corner of far southeast Oklahoma, the entire state is either abnormally dry, or already in drought.

Areas of severe, extreme, and exceptional drought, the worst categories, are still confined to the western part of the state, with far southwest Oklahoma suffering the most. But the latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show moderate drought conditions moving east and into Oklahoma City.

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The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

After 5-Decade Career, NPR's Carl Kasell Will Retire

Doby Photography NPR

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 1:33 pm

After a five-decade career in broadcasting, Carl Kasell announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Carl will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me! this spring. He will, however, remain "scorekeeper emeritus" for the show. Before becoming the official scorekeeper for the NPR news quiz show in 1998, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition.

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Oklahoma News
12:42 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Hearing On Oklahoma Executions Moved To U.S. Court

Credit T Woodard / Flickr Creative Commons

A lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's law that shields details of drugs used in executions has been moved to federal court.

The suit filed by death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner was set for a hearing Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court, but the hearing was canceled after the case was transferred to federal court at the request of the state.

Lockett faces a March 20 execution while Warner is set to be executed March 27.

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The Two-Way
11:57 am
Tue March 4, 2014

Obama's $3.9 Trillion Budget Would Produce $564 Billion Deficit

Copies of President Obama's proposed budget for fiscal 2015, after they were delivered to the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 12:53 pm

As expected, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled a $3.9 trillion budget plan for fiscal 2015 that his number crunchers say would produce a $564 billion deficit.

The gap between spending and revenue, while large, would be down from more than $744 billion this fiscal year and a record $1.4 trillion in 2009 — a fiscal year that began when President George W. Bush was still in office. Since then, deficits during the Obama years have topped $1 trillion three times.

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The Two-Way
10:31 am
Tue March 4, 2014

At Last, No News Is Good News When It Comes To The Weather

For one day at least, an "all clear" has been issued.
National Weather Service

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 8:37 am

We wouldn't normally post a map that basically says there's nothing happening.

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